The newborn is the first baby for 18-year-old gorilla Imani and the 17th gorilla born at the park. Although carried to full-term, the baby suffers from complications likely related to a tough labor.
It is under intensive care, receiving oxygen and supplemental fluids at the hospital.
Imani went into labor Thursday morning, but showed no signs of progress by the evening. Staff transported her to Safari Park veterinary hospital for the emergency C-section.
"In retrospect the C-section was the right decision," said Nadine Lamberski, associate director of veterinary services at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. "We think the health of the fetus would have been compromised if we delayed the surgery any longer."
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park now has eight gorillas - four females and four males.